Chameleons live in southern Europe and southern and southwestern Asia, as well as the entire African continent. A particularly large number of species can be found on the island of Madagascar.
They are excellent climbers and have extremely sharp and far-reaching vision (prey can be spotted from up to 1km away). Chameleons constantly scan their surroundings and look out for enemies and prey. To do this, they move their large eyes independently of one another. This gives you an almost all-around view. If a prey has been discovered, it is sighted on with both eyes and thus perceived pin-sharp. The chameleon slowly approaches its target and then in a flash hurls its strokes towards the fang. Insects stick to it and are thus drawn into the animal’s mouth.
Chameleons are also known for their color change. However, this is less used for camouflage, but rather to express the current mood and to communicate with fellow animals. The more colorful the chameleon, the more comfortable it feels. When threatened or in rivalry, however, it turns red or brown. The color of the chameleon can therefore be used as an indicator of its well-being and helps owners to better understand their animal.
Acquisition and Maintenance
Due to their rich colors, chameleons have become increasingly popular as terrarium animals in recent years. However, the maintenance effort for sensitive animals should not be underestimated.
A reptile is acquired quickly and relatively cheaply. Before making a hasty purchase, however, it is essential to think about a suitable terrarium and the necessary technology (heat lamp, UV lamp, irrigation).
Reptiles are available from pet shops on the one hand and from various breeders on the other. The animal shelter can also have one or two reptiles ready.
Feed & Nutrition
Chameleons feed primarily on insects and other arthropods. They look out for flies, mosquitoes, spiders, caterpillars, etc. In the wild, large chameleons can also eat smaller ones.
Daily feeding is not necessary. It is sufficient to feed the chameleons every 2 to 4 days. Before feeding, it is advisable to roll the insects in a mixture of vitamins and/or minerals (especially calcium).
Chameleons lick water droplets off plants to drink. It is also possible to water them with a sprayer or pipette. However, caution should be exercised in front of standing water. Bacteria quickly collect here, to which chameleons can react particularly sensitively.
Acclimatization and Handling
Chameleons are not cuddly animals. They are suitable for owners who would like to watch their animals in peace.
They feel comfortable in their species-appropriate terrarium. Outside, temperature and humidity usually do not correspond to their natural living conditions. The animals should therefore only be removed from their terrarium very carefully.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Chameleons Endangered?
There are over 400 different chameleon species in total, some of which are threatened with extinction. For example the popular panther chameleon from Madagascar.
How does a chameleon reproduce?
Male chameleons climb onto the females and slide their cloaca into the females. They pull out a hemiepes and insert it into the female’s cloaca. Copulation lasts between 2 – 45 minutes.
On average, female chameleons lay 30 to 40 eggs, which they bury in the warm ground due to their softshell. Depending on the species and the habitat, the young hatch after a few months. These are mostly independent and go hunting independently.
Some chameleon species also give birth to their young alive. The eggs are already developing in the female’s abdomen.